If you are like many Americans, you love March Madness. It’s that time of year when you can make completely uninformed guesses in a bracket and end up with bragging rights over your coworker who has studied college basketball religiously since he was 12. It truly is a magical event with Cinderellas staring down powerhouses, mid-majors upsetting power conferences, and excitement at every turn. If trying to pick between sure things and potential upsets overwhelms you, this handy guide was created to make sure you dominate your bracket. We went into the labs and film rooms to study science and stats to create the definitive answer to who would beat who if the teams’ mascots fought each other in real life. You may be wondering how this will help you fill out your bracket. It won’t. Just like every other article claiming to help your bracket. Your bracket will be bleeding red half way through the first round like every other year. Let’s dive in!
Round of 64 South
Kansas Jayhawks vs Austin Peay Governors
The history of what exactly a Jayhawk is dates back to before the Civil War. However, I don’t see that goofy looking bird they use as their mascot now beating the dignified governor. First 16 seed to beat a 1 seed? Definitely.
Colorado Buffaloes vs Uconn Huskies
The Huskies have a lot of speed and certainly don’t lack in ferociousness. However, one on one I really like the size and strength of the buffalo to be able to outlast the husky.
Maryland Terrapins vs South Dakota State Jackrabbits
If you’re telling me the selection committee didn’t recreate the tortoise and the hare fable on purpose then you’re a dirty liar. And just like the famed fairy tale, I see the terrapin coming out on top here due to its great defense and the Jackrabbit’s lack of firepower.
Hawaii Warriors vs Cal Golden Bears
Certainly an interesting matchup here. The main issue lies in the fact that I don’t know if the bear is made of gold or just golden colored. Because there is no way I’d pick a fight with a 24-karat grizzly. However, due to the fact that a golden plated bear seems outlandish even for a school mascot, I’m picking the fierce Hawaiian Warrior in this one.
Arizona Wildcats vs Wichita State Shockers
First question: What is a shocker? According to their website, Wushock is “a big, bad, muscle-bound bundle of wheat”. As ridiculous as that may sound to you, his face is what nightmares are made of. Shockers over wildcats so that maybe he won’t haunt my dreams.
Miami Hurricanes vs Buffalo Bulls
The bulls would be a strong competitor so it’s a shame that they have to face an even stronger opponent in the hurricanes. Depending on the category we’re easily talking wind speeds of 156 mph. Poor bull never had a chance.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs Temple Owls
An aviary matchup for the ages with talons and wings clashing in an epic battle. I’m giving the hawkeyes the advantage on this one since owls are nocturnal and may be a bit sluggish in a daytime matchup.
Villanova Wildcats vs UNC Asheville Bulldogs
The idea of a bulldog seems like a steadfast, tenacious competitor. A quick internet search, however, shows an animal who is as lazy as it is funny. Not exactly qualities that serve you well in a knockdown, drag out fight. Wildcats advance.
Round of 32 South
Governors vs Buffaloes
There’s a reason buffaloes were endangered. Humans. Governors take the W.
Terrapins vs Warriors
This is no contest. Warriors are bringing home turtle soup to the village tonight.
Shockers vs Hurricanes
The bundles of wheat will be drastically exploited in their matchup with the hurricanes. Because they’ll be blown away. Because they’re wheat. Hurricanes move on.
Hawkeyes vs Wildcats
This is a great matchup with both sides retaining strong advantages in different areas. The hawkeyes will dominate the air while the wildcats hold down the land. Giving it to the hawkeyes on this one for controlling the higher ground.
Sweet 16 South
Governors vs Warriors
A trained fighter vs a politician? Warriors win this one easily.
Hurricanes vs Hawkeyes
Now at this point, the Hurricane is getting pretty far inland. It likely dropped from a category 5 a while back. However, I think it still has enough steam to sweep away the airborne hawkeye. Hurricane takes it in a close one.
Elite 8 South
Warriors vs Hurricanes
This looks like the end of the line for the hurricanes. It’s been downgraded to nothing more than a tropical storm at this point and the beach savvy Hawaiian warrior will have no problem outlasting whatever winds are left of the once mighty hurricane.
Round of 64 East
UNC Tarheels vs Florida Gulf Coast Eagles
Another mascot that dates back to the civil war, a Tarheel will certainly have a tough time fending off the majestic eagle from Florida Gulf Coast. Another unbelievable 16 over 1 upset.
USC Trojans vs Providence Friars
This matchup will test how many times the religious men of Providence can turn the other cheek. The Trojans will have no issue putting away the Friars here.
Indiana Hoosiers vs Chattanooga Mocs
While neither a resident of Indiana nor a mockingbird may strike fear in the hearts of many, I’m giving this one to the Hoosiers in this matchup of rather soft opponents.
Kentucky Wildcats vs Stony Brook Seawolves
Seawolves sound terrifying. Any mythical creature is going to get a leg up on their competition in this tournament. Seawolves by a landslide.
Michigan Wolverines vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Wolverines will tear you up. That is not a joke. I am not joking. Wolverines commonly kill moose. Moose are 20 times the size of wolverines. The leprechauns never had a chance.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks
Very big fan of this matchup. Both are strong, outdoorsy individuals with great beards. If it was a survival competition I would give it to the Mountaineer but in a brute strength battle, I have to go with the lumberjack on this one.
Pittsburgh Panthers vs Wisconsin Badgers
Badgers have a ton of fight in them but the Panther will just be too much cat for the feisty weasel out of Wisconsin. Panthers advance in a good matchup.
Xavier Wildcats vs Weber State Musketeers
I’m not saying I’m tired of all the wildcats… but… Musketeers in a landslide.
Round of 32 East
Eagles vs Trojans
Certainly a regal matchup but unfortunately not a close one. The mighty Trojan will do away with the eagle with haste.
Hoosiers vs Seawolves
The Hoosier lucked out in the first round facing a mockingbird but that luck runs out in the second. Seawolves without hesitation.
Wolverines vs Lumberjacks
I know I made the wolverines sound unbeatable earlier but I believe the Lumberjack will get just one clean swing of his ax in. That’s all he’ll need.
Panthers vs Musketeers
The thin rapier of the musketeer just won’t be enough to hold off the raw power of the panther.
Sweet 16 East
Trojans vs Seawolves
This is certainly a powerhouse matchup worthy of a championship game. I believe the training, armor, and weapons of the Trojan push him over the top.
Lumberjacks vs Panthers
Working in the dense forests, the lumberjack has probably dealt with his fair share of panthers. Experience gives the lumberjack another W.
Elite 8 East
Trojans vs Lumberjacks
The raw power of the lumberjack won’t be nearly enough to compete with the ancient warrior from Troy. Trojan ends the Lumberjack’s run.
Round of 64 West
Oregon Ducks vs Holy Cross Crusaders
With just a duck in the way of the crusader, his first step in taking back the holy land should be an easy one.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks vs Cincinnati Bearcats
A bearcat? Any animal combo is going to get a huge boost in the rankings. Bearcats win in an easy one.
Baylor Bears vs Yale Bulldogs
My opinions on the fighting potential of bulldogs can be reread above. Poor little guy never had a chance.
Duke Blue Devils vs UNC Wilmington Seahawks
I don’t know the difference in a blue devil and your classic red devil but, either way, I am going with the Devil in this one. Seahawk doesn’t carry the same clout as Seawolf.
Texas Longhorns vs Northern Iowa Panthers
Another panther enters the tournament and will have no problem downing a longhorn. Speed and power will get the job done for the panther.
Texas A&M Aggies vs Green Bay Phoenix
An agricultural student vs a mythical bird? I’ll take the Phoenix every day of the week.
Oregon State Beavers vs VCU Rams
While beavers are certainly nothing to be trifled with and I would like them in a lot of matchups, I have to take the ram in this particular fight. Interesting competition but the horns are a big advantage in this one.
Oklahoma Sooners vs CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners
Rowdy the Roadrunner may be quick and I don’t really know why these two have an issue with each other but I am choosing the Sooner in this one.
Round of 32 West
Crusader vs Bearcats
This unholy combination of fierce animals will be too much for the holy crusader. It’s a blowout in favor of the bearcat.
Bears vs Blue Devils
Now one stipulation of these matchups I’m unsure of is if the mascot is still being guided by the teams’ coach. I will assume so and give this win to the Blue Devil thanks to the strategic mind of Coach K.
Panthers vs Phoenix
My bias towards the mythical continues as the Phoenix rises from the ashes to demolish the ill-prepared panther.
Rams vs Sooners
This poor fella is just trying to settle in the West and make a better life for his family. One charge from the ram knocks him off his stagecoach, the next charge finishes him off. It was the ram or dysentery. Thank goodness it was the ram.
Sweet 16 West
Bearcats vs Blue Devils
A very fun, high-powered matchup here pitting two entirely different entities. Although I can only imagine the multitude of headaches a blue devil presents for any opponent, I see the bearcats holding them off and securing the victory.
Phoenix vs Rams
While the ram is bringing brute strength to the table, the phoenix is basically made out of the sun… Phoenix advances.
Elite 8 West
Bearcats vs Phoenix
The mythical matchup we’ve all been waiting for. This game right here is why they invented March. Two noble creatures going head to head in a fight to the death. A long drawn out battle will certainly ensue but I see the bearcat emerging as the victor. This one is as close as they come.
Round of 64 Midwest
Virginia Cavaliers vs Pirates
I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I don’t think pirates are awesome and am not extremely biased towards them. Solid matchup but black beard takes it.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs Butler Bulldogs
More bulldogs? Red Raiders take it.
Purdue Boilermakers vs Little Rock Trojans
Another warrior from Troy shows up in the tourney and will have no problem in their first round.
Iowa State Cardinals vs Iona Gael
A Gael is someone of Irish-Gaelic ancestry. Iona’s particular Gael is named Killian. Fitting for what he’ll do to that poor cardinal.
Seton Hall Pirates vs Gonzaga Bulldogs
Seriously did a momma bulldog just have puppies? Jack Sparrow wins it.
Utah Utes vs Fresno State Bulldogs
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, “If bulldogs are so worthless in battle then why are there so many in the tournament?” I don’t know Brian why are you 1961 words deep into an article about mascots fighting each other. Whatever bulldog advances only because I don’t want to Google what a Ute is just for it to tell me someone who lives in Utah or something lame.
Dayton Flyers vs Syracuse Orange
A pilot vs a color. This one is pretty abstract. I don’t know how to personify a color’s combat skills and I also don’t know if that fact is a positive or negative. To avoid falling into an existential spiral I’m just going to advance Rudy Flyer without too much thought.
Michigan State Spartans vs Middle Tennesse State Blue Raiders
It’s a shame that both colors of raiders couldn’t face each other. But there is simply no competing with the greatest human specimen of all time. Spartan by a bunch.
Round of 32 Midwest
Red Raider vs Pirate
Sailing the seven seas, plundering booty, and fighting Krakens? I don’t care what color raider you are. Pirate wins this one.
Trojan vs Gael
The confusing presence of the Gael is no longer something you have to worry about. Trojan will advance no problem here.
Pirate vs Bulldog
This particular pirate won against a bulldog last round. The glass slipper falls off early for this Cinderella pup. The pirate from Seton Hall is going to the Sweet 16.
Flyer vs Spartan
You may think “He has a plane and he defeated the color orange, how could he possibly lose” If you thought that then you probably haven’t seen the movie 300. Spartan advances.
Sweet 16 Midwest
Pirate vs Trojan
The pirate’s pistol will just be too much for the Trojan’s old sword and shield. Hand to hand is a different story but no sea faring scallywag will be caught dead without his trusty .50 Cal Flintlock. Yargh.
Pirate vs Spartan
As much as everyone wants to see an Elite 8 pirate matchup, I can’t in good conscience drop the mighty Spartan Warrior here. King Leonidas sends ol’ peg leg to Davey Jones’ Locker.
Elite 8 Midwest
Pirate vs Spartan
Same matchup for Sparty as last round. Same result. Sparta will be represented in the Final 4.
Hawaii Warriors vs Cincinnati Bearcats
The bearcats are the final representatives of the nonhumans. While the Warriors from Hawaii will put up a good fight, they simply have not had to face a beast of this magnitude on their tropical island. Unprepared for the hybrid animal before them, the noble warrior finally falls at the paws of the bearcat.
USC Trojans vs Michigan State Spartans
Truly a matchup for the ages. Both sides trace their roots to ancient history and are epitomes of raw strength and skill especially on the battlefield. However, the debate of who will win is unnecessary thanks to the writings we find in the Iliad. We can read about Menelaus, king of Sparta, leading Greek armies to impose the destruction of Troy. There could not be a more exciting Final Four had ancient writers made it up themselves. Michigan State Spartans punch their ticket to the finals.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs Michigan State Spartans
This is it. Man vs beast. A true meeting of powerhouse mascots. The iconic Spartan warrior will stare down the immaculate beast from Cincinnati. But at the end of the day, the Spartan can hold off armies. He can hold off this animal too. Michigan State Spartans emerge victoriously. This is Sparta.
Champion: Michigan State Spartans